Stiff back in horses

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Stiff back in horses

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  • My horse is stiff in her back
  • Stiff back legs in horses

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    04-17-2011, 06:06 PM
Green Broke
Stiff back in horses

I wasn't sure of where to put this. Ok I had this explained to me a couple of days ago on here. The difference between a horse with a stiff back and falsy legs and a horse with a swinging back.
The following is the explanation I got from Kayty

Ok so in dressage, and really general flat work, a horse that is using its body correctly, will 'swing' it's back as well as move its legs. When you see horses that trot around and look very flashy, with 'flicky' front legs - 99% of the time these horses are not using their backs and are just 'leg movers' - which look speccy but is not correct.

To have a horse working correctly, we want to create energy in the hind quarters, using our leg and seat, this energy will travel over the horse's back and up to the bridle, where we must keep a contact to 'complete the circuit' (think an electrical circuit, the energy will not flow if there is a gap in the circuit. It is the same with a horse. If there is a block or gap in the circuit, the energy will not flow through the whole horse, and the work is not 'correct').

As the energy we create in the hind legs, circulates up through the back and to the bridle, then cycling back which is where you get your collection, the back muscles will 'engage' and lift. In some horses, the 'lift' in the back is so obvious that you feel as though they've grown an inch. The back is then able to swing with the horse's movement, and carry the rider.
This is opposed to a horse that travels by bracing it's back and moving it's legs. The ride is not so comfortable and the energy circuit is not connected as the back is blocked.
We achieve the swing and 'throughness' by using half halts and other exercises to engage the hindquarters. You should feel the back 'release', and the horse's movement will immediately become freer flowing and much more pleasant to ride.

Some horses will naturally swing over the back, meaning they're very loose over the back and it makes the rider's job of creating that 'electrical circuit' much easier. Others, like most TBs, will travel with a naturally stiff, braced back, and as a rider we have to be skilled and tactful enough to encourage the horse to release its back and build those muscles so that eventually it becomes more comfortable to travel with a soft back versus a tense/stuck back.

So I was just wondering if I could get some pictures or videos or something to show the difference because I was never told about this before and would like to see. I'm not sure if you can see it in videos and such but Thanks if you can help me.
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    04-17-2011, 06:15 PM
Omg My coach send me a perfect email demistrating all of you just said idk how to send it on here tho... ill try to figuer it out wait a minute or a couple lol
    04-17-2011, 06:17 PM
Green Broke
Cool thanks
    04-17-2011, 06:18 PM

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Pea at the Bule Cross Show. First time entering sj classes so restrains your crit please! 1st class was diddy and wanted to take it steady and really have her listening to me hence trotting round. My…
Added on 24/08/2009


Here's some videos - not sure if you'll be able to see the one on Facebook. There's oodles of info here- so go through it when you have time. The last one has a great image to explain moving off the hind end, which is what we want chase to do, especially in canter! Happy learning!

If you can see this one...this is what NOT to is very heavy on the forehand, carrying all her weight on her front two legs. Sweet team, cute cute horse, but not powering off her back end, and moves with no impulsion...this is bad.
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These two get an A for effort (expect for her sloppy hair, make that an A-), but it looks like the horse is "dragging" the rider, very low through the front end, absorbing 100 per cent of its movement through its forehand. You don't have to watch it all - it's a bit boring after the first 5 jumps...and you'll get the idea by then

This rider comes all the way down to walk - you get more out of the trot-almost walk-trot if you don't fully walk - but this horse is moving more correctly. Turn your speakers on and listen to what the coach is saying...some good points "hind quarters sit down" (not the sea-saw part though, that's bad!) Notice how his back steps "track up" meaning they fall in the footprints of his front feet at trot...that's excellent!

AND finally, maybe we can all ride as well as this guy one day...disregard the foreign language they speak! This almost makes me cry every time I watch it! THAT BEAUTIFUL! (and a great example of an incredibly correct horse, moving very "uphill")

Here's some pics that explain leaning on the bit and the forehand, which bad...

Here's a great article about it...yes a little long a wordy, but if you read the captions by the pictures, you'll get the idea. In the top picture, the red line is good, the green line is acceptable.
Impulsion Line in riding horses - dressage

    04-17-2011, 06:21 PM
Hope this helps and works lol

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